According to Edith Hamilton, a people’s literature is the great textbook for real knowledge of them and the writings of the day show the quality of the people as no historical reconstruction can and this is a statement we highly endorse at Book Buzzed. Most of us dive into the fictional world to get a break from our textbooks. With that being said, here is a list of academic books that you might actually enjoy.
Radical Hope by Jonathan Lear
Published in 2006, this book tells a story of cultural devastation, a widely explored topic in the field of social anthropology. Using the available anthropology and history of the Indian tribes during their confinement to reservations, Lear tries to give a solution to the vulnerability experienced by a dying civilization. What makes it different from other books that have touched upon this theme is the inclusion of different characters, philosophical debates, and its descriptive narration.
Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann
The first ever print of the Faustian legend appeared in the form of a chapbook in 1587 and since then there have been several literary as well as cinematic and musical interpretations of it. The most famous adaptations of this legend are by Christopher Marlowe and Johann Von Goethe, which also happen to be prescribed reading in literature. But the incorporation of music and the ongoing parallel between the protagonist’s spiritual fall and Germany’s ideological fall is what makes it an interesting read. This work was composed under the guidance of Theodor Adorno and is said to be inspired by the life of Friederich Nietzsche. Mann studied musicology and biographies of major composers including Mozart and Beethoven and also communicated with living composers, like Arnold Schoenberg to add a strong base to his narrative of Faust.
Listening by Jean-Luc Nancy (translated by Charlotte Mandell)
Originally written in French, this book of just 65-70 pages is an intense discussion on phenomenology. It also explains the philosophy behind music and tells the subtle yet obvious difference between hearing and listening with the help of several musical analogies (such as the concept of timber and a mother’s womb) and themes which categorize it as a lyrical ballad. Charlotte Mandell has made sure that the essence of this text doesn’t get lost in translation.
The Wholeness of Nature: Goethe’s Way Toward a Science of Conscious Participation in Nature by Henri Bortfort
While most readers are familiar with Goethe as a poet and dramatist, few are familiar with his scientific work. In this book, Bortfort gives a brilliant and creative response to Goethean science and moreover, the problem of wholeness, through a hermeneutic approach. He also uses two perspectives– the theory of plant and the theory of colour– to formulate a new philosophy of science.
History after Lacan by Teresa Brennan
History after Lacan is a critique as well as an extension to Jacques Lacan, a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist’s arguments on modernity and the psychotic’s era. This text perfectly describes ethnocentrism, the relation between the sexes, and ecological catastrophe. It is also an essential reading for social, cultural, and political theorists, historians, feminists, psychoanalysts, and literary theorists, making it an interdisciplinary study.
Let us know in the comments below if you are acquainted with these or are planning to read these anytime soon and if we should add any more books to this list.
Author: Vani Devraj
Vani is the chief content curator at Book Buzzed.